The chief minister, Mr V.S. Achuthanandan, who has made the protection of women his main campaign plank, on Wednesday faced a hailstorm of protests over his “insinuation” against Ms Lathika Subash, his rival Congress candidate in Malampuzha.
Mr Achuthanandan had quipped on Tuesday that Ms Lathika was “quite famous” and added that it was for journalists to find out details of her fame.
Angered by this comment, Ms Lathika on Wednesday lodged a complaint with the Election Commission saying that Mr Achuthanandan had insulted her. The EC called for a report from the district collector.
She also filed a complaint before the first class judicial magistrate in Palakkad under IPC Section 509, which relates to “uttering any word or making any gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman”.
Stung by the cricticism, Mr Achuthanandan denied that he had insulted Ms Lathika and said he was only referring to her fame as a Congress politician.
But a cross-section of society condemned the insinuation, saying that such a comment did not behove of the chief minister and the opposition united democratic front was quick to seize it to sully the “knight in shining armour” reputation of Mr Achuthanandan.
“He is older than my father, and should not have cast aspersions on my character merely because I am contesting against him,” said Ms Subhash. Realising that a political game was on, Mr Achuthanandan also hurriedly filed a complaint with the EC, seeking to restrain those who distorted his comment.
The social activist, Ms Leela Menon, said Mr Achuthanandan had assailed a woman’s modesty through his uncouth remark. “It did not fit in with his image of a gentleman and noble person,” she said.
Veteran actor Sarada, who was in Kochi, also said she was upset by the comment and added that Mr Achuthanandan would get a fitting reply from the voters.
The Opposition is hell bent on making a bonfire of this controversy because that’s the most potent weapon it has got against the chief minister in the run-up to the polls. Asian Age